Sony has several options when it comes to electronic book reading. The Daily Edition is best suited for robust reading needs. The Pocket Edition is compact and more portable than the other models. The Touch Edition covers the middle ground of size, features, and price.
If you do a lot of reading the Daily Edition is right for you. This unit has a 7″ full touch screen. You can use Wi-Fi or the included 3G wireless connection to purchase reading material. The Reader has a 22 day battery life per charge. It can store up to 1,200 books at a time without optional memory expansion and up to 50,000 books with memory expansion. The Daily Edition has a metallic finish. The current model number is PRS-950SC and has a suggested price of $299.
For easier reading on the go the Pocket Edition combines compact size and low weight. This model sports a 5″ full touch screen. It has a two week battery life and can store up to 1,200 books. The Pocket Edition lacks the wireless download options, so syncing is done through a High-Speed USB cable strung between the Reader and a computer. The Pocket Edition is available in either silver or pink. The current model number is PRS-350PC and has a suggested price of $179.
If you are looking for a compromise between these two options, the Touch Edition may be right for you. With a 6″ full touch screen, this model fits right between the Pocket and Daily editions. The lack of wireless download options is helped by optional expandable memory. The Touch Edition is available in either black or red. The current model number is PRS-650BC and has a suggested price of $229.
Software and the Reader Store
All editions use the Reader Library Software to synchronize purchased books and periodicals between the Reader and a computer. The software is a free download available for both Mac and PC on Sony’s Reader Store website. You can also shop for new books through the software using the Reader Store. The website also says free Reader mobile apps will be coming to iPhones and Android phones this month. This will allow Reader owners to also buy and read books on an iPhone or Android-based phone.
The Reader Store contains bestsellers from the New York Times list. There are several national newspapers available, including The Salt Lake Tribune. There are a limited number of national and international magazines available also. The newspapers and magazines are sold individually and through monthly subscriptions.
Textbooks are not well represented in the Reader Store. Searching the store for academic topics returns a listing of popular books on those subjects. If you can get a digital version of your textbooks, the file might be readable and transferable through the Reader Library software.
The nuts & bolts
All editions of the Reader use E Ink Pearl technology for their screens. This screen is capable of displaying 16 shades of gray for covers, pictures and graphics. These readers do not show color. This technology is well suited for reading outdoors in sunlight because of paper-like contrast between light and dark. The E Ink screen is also a significant contributor to long battery life. This type of screen does not use power between page turns and edits.
All editions of the Reader have an engraving option if you purchase through Sony’s online store. Sony is also offering up to a $50 credit if you trade-in your old reader of any qualifying brand. You may also qualify for up to a 10 percent discount at their Campus Store.
These three editions offer different options for different needs. The Daily Edition is perfectly suited for the well-heeled, serious reader. The Pocket Edition is highly portable and has the lowest price. The Touch Edition hits the sweet spot of price versus functionality. Look forward to reviews of other electronic book readers in upcoming issues of The Globe.